Lawns fulfill numerous purposes in the landscape. They prevent soil erosion in areas prone to water damage, deter weed growth and provide large expanses of soft surface for kids and dogs. Different types of grass provide opportunities for growing in various areas and climates. An attractive lawn supplies the finishing touch to many landscape designs. Unfortunately, many lawns suffer from inadequate preparation and lack of continued care.
Test your soil before planting a new lawn. Purchase a soil test kit from your local landscape business or gardening center. Take a sample as directed in the instructions. Follow all recommendations on the test result, adding any required nutrients to the site before planting grass seed.
Loosen the soil with a garden tiller to encourage healthy root growth. Remove roots, rocks and debris from the planting site. Spread the grass seed with a seed broadcaster to encourage even distribution of seed. Lay a fine layer of mulch over the top of the seed. Press down with a seed roller or lightly rake soil to provide adequate seed to soil contact. Keep soil moist while germinating.
Mow your lawn at the top end of the recommended height for your grass type. Allow the grass to grow tall to encourage competition against invasive weeds. Use a lawnmower with sharp blades to avoid tearing apart and pulling up grass plants.
Leave the grass clippings scattered over your lawn. Earthworms use these clippings to increase nutrients in the soil. Grass clippings also act as mulch, holding in moisture during dry periods.
Water your grass early in the morning. Do not soak your lawn or water too frequently. Damp grass creates desirable conditions for mildew and disease. Check for soil moisture by pressing a fingertip into the ground near the base of the grass blades. Soil should feel slightly moist near the depth of the roots. Add water if the soil is dry in this area.
Look closely at the surface of the soil near the roots of the grass blades. This is where thatch builds up. Thatch appears as a thick layer of debris around the base of grass blades. If you notice more than 1/2 inch of thatch, rent a commercial thatch remover or power rake and run it over your lawn. These machines resemble lawn mowers and work by lifting up the layer of thatch as the machine moves over the surface of the lawn. Water your lawn thoroughly after removing the thatch.